In search of Delight

I’ve been doing a variation on gratitude journal.  I’ve been blogging about things that delight me.  I started doing it just before the world began to implode.

It’s an interesting thing because it requires attention.  Delight I find to be a fleeting thing.  A quick moment that makes me smile, or a moment where the brain grenades recede because I found some sensation that overwhelmed them, like the soft fur on my cat or the smell of bread baking.

I think the attentiveness of it is part of it’s therapy.  Of trying to notice those tiny moments of delight that exist but are often as quickly forgotten or not given the importance they deserve.

It’s becoming a bit harder as the numbers of infected increase.  I have a tendency toward hypochondria, so I’m just waiting for the symptoms.  No.  I’m looking for the symptoms.  When I’m home I take my temp 5 or 6 times a day.  I’m not helped by having spring hay fever.

But as I look at how my brain has been dealing with this pandemic, I’m fairly pleased.  I have not fallen into a stillness.  The brain grenades have stayed mostly at a distance.  The worst part is the hypochondria.  And I am wondering if some of it is my attention to delights.  Of course Spring is here and that presents me with lots of moments of delight.  Walking outside to sunny skies and 60 degrees is just a rush of delight.  Seeing flowers growing all over the place when I take my walk is lovely.

I have had times in my life where I went through the whole spring without paying the slightest bit of attention to the white puffs of pear trees and cheerful dandelions and laughing daffodils.  And I think it’s not good for me.  I’m glad I’m noticing the delights of life.

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The Ephemeral Delight of a Hot Air Balloon

hot air balloon flying under blue sky during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you had one arrive suddenly above you?  If you live in an urban environment that can be the feeling.  One day, you are working in your backyard garden and you hear conversation.  Above you.  And there it, floating impossibly above you – it’s colors screaming delight, it’s passengers happy to wave and join your wonder from their, possibly happier, perspective.  And then a sudden muted roar as the flame is ignited to give it some lift and your momentary delight floats away like the happy dream.

How can it still be so wonderful?  Hot air balloons have existed for more than 300 years. Indeed, if you consider the (unmanned) Chinese Sky Lanterns, they’ve been around nearly 2000 years.  They shouldn’t be anymore gawkable than a car or a plane.  And yet they are.  And I think they will be forever.  They have an ineffable quality that makes them continue to inspire awe.

Like all awe inspiring things we create events and images and stories around them.  Most cities of size have some kind of hot air balloon event.  You can buy countless calendars with dedicated to the hot air balloon.  Coffee Table Books, Websites, Pintrest Boards, Balloon Chasers and finally and perhaps most telling – advertisers.

The moment of magic they provide everyone who sees them is one of life’s delights.

 

The smell of bread baking

Is there anything quite so lovely as the waft of yeast bread filling your nose and then your soul?  It seems to have so much unspeakable meaning.  Home and Wellness and Love and Joy and all of it in a swirling of delight.

Sadly, it’s not my bread that is baking right now.  One of my neighbors has taken to baking.  I’m just pleased to have had the gift of the smell.

I’m quite excited now for the flour I ordered from Janie’s Mill to arrive so I can bake some for myself.   I was feeling deeply guilty about buying it.  It costs the moon.  And considering the unstable state of my job, I shouldn’t have done it.  But there isn’t a bag of flour anywhere in the Grocery.  And I am supporting Celi from Kitchens Garden and supporting a small business by doing it.  And I love bread.  And it’s excellent flour that didn’t strip the land of all it’s goodness.  And those are my reasons.  So.

I will try to remember to take some pictures and post them for you all when I get the flour and bake my bread.

EEEEEEK.  My flour arrived just now.  I’m soooo pleased.

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I was wrong

I was lamenting yesterday about the economy and how badly it was affecting the business I work for.  I wondered why we stopped the world instead of just focusing our efforts on protecting the vulnerable.

But since I wrote that I’ve learned a couple of things.  One was a video by Dr. Campbell on how the virus works and spreads and how cutting off the spread can kill the virus off permanently.  That is what happened with SARS.  I was still a bit skeptical that a virus that has already circumnavigated the world could be killed off permanently, but I just read Rowena’s post.  She’s particularly vulnerable to this virus.  If she catches it, she has a high risk of mortality and certainly will end up in hospital, assuming beds are even available.  She’s a mother with young children.

Her family is going to great lengths to protect her.  They bought a popup camper for her to live in for the duration so the family won’t infect her.  It just suddenly made it all clear to me how hard it is to truly isolate and protect the vulnerable.  The only way to do it is for everyone to participate.

Unless you are a single person living alone like myself, true isolation is impossible. And even now in all this mess, if I were forced to truly self isolate, I would likely still need to leave the apartment to take out the trash or receive a delivery of groceries, which would expose me to surfaces other people in the building have touched. And all of that is complicated and compounded when you live with others, particularly as a parent.

that is why we are all sacrificing. It’s a mess. But we must get through and we must all take it seriously or it will all be for naught. We will lose the vulnerable and have killed the economy, if we don’t do it right.

Broccoli, What a Delight

I’m not being sardonic, ironic or sarcastic.  I truly love Broccoli, although I keep misspelling it, so my delight does not extend to all it’s aspects apparently.  Thank you, Spell Check for your minatory corrections.  I’m frankly also glad for spell check, although I mostly express my annoyance with it.  Having grown up  and lived my young adulthood in a time before it’s existence, I know the suffering, the embarrassment of being a poor speller.

But back to the Broccoli.  I love it.  Raw or cooked.  Frozen or Fresh.  I don’t think I’ve ever had it canned.  I’m mostly not a fan of canned veg so probably wouldn’t love it.  But maybe?

I use broccoli slaw on my sandwiches instead of lettuce.  It provides crunch and a marvelous taste.  And so many more nutrients than lettuce.

I often take mashed potatoes and broccoli to work as my lunch.  It’s marvelous in a soup.  It’s a lovely additive to nearly any casserole.  Particularly those Mid American casseroles that generally feature Campbell soup of some variety.

Of course I love a lot of foods.  But what makes broccoli special is that it’s GOOD FOR ME. This is what makes it delightful.  To love something that is actually good for you is so rare that it’s nearly like finding the Hope Diamond, fully cut, in your backyard.

I felt it had to be celebrated.  Broccoli.  It’s Good.

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It’s startling how fast an economy can go into the toilet

People are talking about a recession, but honestly, it feels more like it might be headed straight for a depression.

Two weeks ago the transportation company I work for was thriving.  On Monday they laid off  half the workforce and pulled more than half of their vehicles off the lot and the insurance.

Small businesses will not survive this.  Or only a few will.  Most transportation companies are facing full on collapse in 30 or so days.  They carry a debt load on their fleet, not to mention the insurance and payroll.  Our company is in a better position than most because we don’t carry any debt but it’s just going make us last a bit longer.  Because without any income you cannot run a business.

Today I wondered what I would do differently if I were in charge of running this disaster.  And I think I would have focused entirely on high risk people.  Just make older people and people with pre-existing conditions self isolate.  Set up ways and means to support that isolation with food delivery and medical care and whatever support was needed.   But stopping the entire world when it seems like 97% of the sick are not going to feel any worse than having a cold, seems like we went at it wrong.

Of course, I’m not a public health expert.  I have no real knowledge on the spread of sickness and it’s consequences.   It’s probably a pipe dream to think it could have run it’s course mostly avoiding the at risk and giving the rest of us a cold to complain about.  But, if any countries are doing that, I would be interested to know if their outcomes are better/ worse on mortality and economy.

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Hello Spring!

It’s here!  Its really here.  Don’t even try to point out weather forecasts.  I saw THIS in my front yard.

That’s right, skeptics.  That’s a tiny purple clover and a tiny yellow – something I don’t know but it was definitely a flower.  The landlord here has committed ONLY to mowing the lawn and so it’s a happy conglomeration of weeds.  Clover, dandelions, tiny white flowers and a morning glory infestation.  And all of that just cheers me up so much.  I cannot wait for all of it to burst forth.  I really have no idea why we have idealized a monoculture lawn of grass.  Because this lawn is gorgeous.  And requires so little effort.

Those little flowers combined with a beautiful sunny morning in the mid 50s gave me a feeling of delight, gratitude and hope.  It’s been a rather yuck winter.  Not because the weather was particularly bad.  It was a very mild winter here.  But my mood was bleak.  And those tiny burst of color just drained all the bleak out of my mood and filled me with light.

Even The Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020 couldn’t kill it, despite things being quite scary at work.  Our business went into the shitter in a huge way.  We do transportation for people and all the corporations cut travel out.  All the schools cancelled.  All the big events we service cancelled.  It’s weird to watch a thriving business suddenly teeter in on itself.  Hopefully we can weather the storm.

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The delight of a cat’s fur

To be clear, the delight is when it’s still part of the cat.  When it exits the cat, it’s something else we won’t be discussing.

My cat, her Calico Highness Bijou, has the kind of fur that I delight in. img_20180721_151556883 It’s short to middling long, very fine and very very thick on her body, giving her a sort of soft fluff.  Petting her is a combination of sensations.

There is the softness that comes from so much fur that it squishes a bit when you stroke her and the silky softness that is inherent to the fineness of it.  When you pet her, she is particularly pleased by rubs around her ears, which means you also get the lovely low vibration of her purrs.  img_20200207_105352

All in all, it’s a tiny moment of delight when she comes up to receive her homage from me.  I can be in a deeply ugly place in my brain and if I can just switch it into being present enough to feel and enjoy the moment with Bijou, life gets just the little bit lighter, that little bit that comes from the delight.

 

The Joy of Buster

Last week was a particularly craptastic week but was relieved by one moment of light.  A tiny very brown puppy with floppy ears and enormous eyes arrived in a box sitting on a red tea towel and looking slightly worried.

Buster Brown, as he was later christened, had been temporarily part of one of the dispatcher’s households but the extant dog was violently against the puppy and it was deemed safer for the puppy and the children playing with said puppy if it did not stay.  So, an empty nest couple who work evenings agreed to adopt Buster.  Consequently, he arrived in his box looking a bit nervous and cowed.

And thus I was introduced to him.  After spending a day in near tears, suddenly all the anxiety and exhaustion that had plagued my day fled in the face of a brown face with large eyes.

Buster is never going to be big.  He’s a dachshund/chihuahua mix.  He is a gorgeous chocolate brown color that I have rarely seen so perfectly and beautifully grown in a dog’s coat.  He has lovely soft ears and is calmer than I would have ever assumed any offspring from those two breeds could be.  And right now he is just about the size of a man’s hand.

Happily, Buster was surreptitiously brought back again the following evening, after the big bosses had left.  He’d had time to be recognize the safety and love that was his new home and had lost the sad worried look.  One of the girls in the office took him off his leash and ran him up and down the office space and he had all the spunk and happiness that is puppies.

I hope that Buster visits us regularly.  He is a boon to my mental health.  A temporary relief to anxiety and sadness.  Joy is his vocation.

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of the Joy of Buster.  Perhaps I will remember to take one this week if he visits, instead of just enjoying him.

 

Happy Palindrome Day

Also ground hog’s day, but that’s just a silly superstition.

The 02022020 is real.  And it’s rare.

This particular date works in both the US and the European dating customs.  That makes it even rarer.

And today is the 33rd day of the year.  And there are 333 days left in the year.  Palindromes again!

I learned about this magical and rare holiday from Matt Parker, math video educator and presenter and author.

We need more pointless but interesting trivia in our lives.  Or maybe we don’t?  Anyway, it beats learning horrific facts about the coronavirus or the endlessly burning Australia or god forbid, Politics.  So.  I’m OK with it.